By Shay Williams Freeskier Magazine – Steamrolling into the third day of competition here at the Winter Dew Tour, the Slopestyle combatants took to Breckenridge this morning and early afternoon for the Preliminary elimination round. 20-plus skiers woke to a beautiful sunny day in Summit, with the jumps groomed to perfection and the rails sitting, waiting to be annihilated. The weather gods smiled upon us today, as the competitors had optimal conditions in which to do battle.
With names like Schiller, Håtveit, Carlson, Dumont, West, Wallisch, Casabon and Wells -- to only name a few -- the stage was set. With a scant 10 spots available for finals, the competition is tight. Super-qualified Teen Heartthrob Bobby Brown and Alexis Godbout can breathe a sigh of relief, as they got a glimpse of what is in store for tomorrow's finals. Today, everyone was a contender, cut from the same cloth of Slopestyle craziness.
Colby James executes a beautiful 270
Straight outta Switzerland, young Elias Ambuhl has been tearing up the big air scene this fall, only to squash yesterday's qualifying competitors, and finally besting the best in the sport, to take the top spot into finals. Double cork 1080s, right 900s and switch double flips landed the swiss gent in 1st. The pretzel man, Tom Wallisch, took rightside spins, and a massive switch double (and a rodeo onto a rail) to scoop up the 2nd spot.
Elias Ambuhl, not double flipping for once
Reigning X Games slopestyle champ TJ Schiller followed closely with a run consisting of two doubles and a right 900 as well, to snatch 3rd.
It'd be an understatement to say double flips/corks are en vogue right now. Bringing everyone's big air tricks from the city into the park is not only scoring well with the judges, but the riders are making it look so casual. Elias does more doubles than singles, as does TJ and Jacob Wester. Up and comers Ian Cosco and Bobby Brown make them look effortless. It won't be long until Ripperoo, Breck's mascot, will be lapping Freeway to train his switch double 1080.
TJ Schiller warms up some rightside spins
In addition to mind blowing doubles, we can't forget the other highlights. Jossi Wells winning the lower rail section with a couple casual 630s. T-Crack Wallisch is a huge fan of rodeo 450s onto rails and makes no secret about it. The Dumont wasn't content with sliding the Toyota box feature, so he casually hand drag 360'd over it. Everywhere you looked there was slopestyle pandemonium. Switch rightside 1080, rightside 900, pretzel this, switch 450 that. If today is any indicator of how tomorrow will play out, then get ready. The antics of Schiller, Godbout, Brown and Ambuhl -- among others -- will invade your mind with such force, you'll have no choice but to succumb to their superior slopestyle skills.
A breath of some young blood is always nice to see, as Sean Jordan and Oscar Harlaut used all the trickery in their books to make it to finals as well.
Wallisch leads the train with a pimp rodeo 540
1) Elias Ambuhl
2) Tom Wallisch
3) TJ Schiller
4) Phil Casabon
5) Andreas Håtveit
6) Sean Jordan
7) JF Houle
8) Charles Gagnier
9) Sammy Carlson
10) Oscar Harlaut
Tonight is the Halfpipe Finals under the lights. Be there or be square. Remember to check Freeskier.com for all your Winter Dew Tour updates. Big ups to Byron Wells, Kevin Kruse and Fergie Cancade for inside info.